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The Evening Brief: June 4, 2013

Your evening reading: state GOP distances itself from Tea Party leader's comments about black voters; Cruz pens letter slamming immigration reform bill; complaint filed over judge's remarks on race

Texas GOP Chair Steve Munisteri July, 2010.

New in The Texas Tribune

•    Tea Party Leader Says He Misspoke About Black Voters: "Dallas Tea Party leader Ken Emanuelson said Tuesday that he misspoke when he told an activist last month that Republicans don't want blacks to vote because they overwhelmingly support Democrats. 'That was a mistake,' he said in an email. 'I hold no position of authority within the Republican Party and it wasn't my place to opine on behalf of the desires of the Republican Party.' Emanuelson's earlier comments had provoked a storm of criticism from Democrats and a rebuke from the chairman of the state GOP, Steve Munisteri, who said they did not reflect his position or the party's.

•    Cruz Outlines Opposition to Immigration Reform Bill: "The immigration reform bill slated to go before the U.S. Senate next week is full of loopholes that fail to secure the border or address legal immigration, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz wrote in a letter to his colleagues on Tuesday."

•    Complaint: Judge's Death Penalty Remarks Show Racial Bias: "Civil rights groups and ethicists allege that 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Edith Jones violated judicial codes of conduct during a February speech in which she reportedly said some minority groups are 'predisposed to crime.'"

•    TxDOT Outsourcing IT Operations to Private Firm: "The Texas Department of Transportation has announced that a private firm will take over most of its information technology operations."

•    Fix for Roads in Shale Counties Might Be Short: "Lawmakers allocated $450 million this session to repairing roads destroyed by truck activity resulting from the drilling boom in South and West Texas. The Legislature likely isn't done with the issue, though, because the amount is much less than advocates said was needed, and the problem is on track to grow."

•    Whatever Became of That School Finance Ruling?: "It’s now June, and there is still no final decision in the sweeping lawsuit involving more than two-thirds of Texas school districts that arose after the Legislature eliminated roughly $5.4 billion from state public education funding in 2011."

•    Video: Session of Transparency Fell Short: "When it came to passing major ethics reforms that would have increased transparency for elected officials, the 83rd Legislature didn't make much headway. Lawmakers, it seems, didn't have the appetite for increased public disclosure."


•    Locations, dates and times for redistricting field hearings set (San Antonio Express-News): "Senate and House committees tapped to work on redistricting during the special session Tuesday released times, locations and dates for field hearings around the state."

•    Medicare spending drops in North Texas (The Dallas Morning News): "Medicare spent less money on North Texas seniors and the disabled in 2011 — a rare occurrence that could indicate hospitals and doctors are restraining the amount of care they order. In data released Monday, the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services showed average spending per Medicare beneficiary in Dallas County fell 2.2 percent, from $10,647 in 2010 to $10,481 in 2011, the latest year for which data is available."

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